Monday, 30 May 2011

Talking of Fruit...

I don't know about you but we do get through an enormous amount of fruit each week.  With all the lovely summer fruit coming in now we needed a second bowl this week.

 Now take note, this is the extra bowl, full of nectarines, apricots and cherries.  I managed to stop anyone eating any until the photo was taken on Saturday afternoon.

This was the same bowl a day later...

Just 5 cherries and 1 nectarine!

Are they taking over the world?

Well, you remember those apple jackets?  Yes, I know, lots of people have said, "why would you want one?", and "as useful as the crocheted tissue box covers", and one person did suggest a crocheted banana jacket would be better!  It would be a challenge though and I did think it had got to be worth doing at least one - a fun addition to the lunch boxes! (If there's only one, then it will be a surprise as to who gets it!)   A definite talking point and good way of winding up the boys! 

There has been lots of chat on the blogs about apple jackets.  Have a look on Google images, and put in crochet apple jackets - there's a mere 1,640,000!  All sorts of colours and styles, I thought this was something new, but reckon they must have been around for quite a while.

I am really impressed with Coco Rose though, do have a look at her work,

considering the date of this blog entry, she's a really fast worker, the magazine had barely come out then!  She does have a lovely blog, well worth taking time to look at. 

So first job, learn the stitches.  Well there's only one - double crochet - and having found instructions in two books I made a start. 


Now, Kirstie learnt to crochet and made a crochet box all in one television programme!  Admittedly she did have an expert next to her.

My first 2 attempts were too awful to show you!

Attempt number 3 - was an improvement...

Probably best to let the picture speak for itself.  It did resemble a gnome hat, or as someone suggested, perhaps it would be a carrot cosy!

I don't know about jackets but attempt number 4 was another hat...

And as for number 5!!!

Well it isn't a hat!  But perhaps there is a problem with my apples. 
After all I can nearly fit 2 in!

So how will attempt number 6 go?

Still a work in progress, so wait and see!

Friday, 20 May 2011

It must be the start of summer...

Now I wonder why? 

After all it's only the middle of May.

Any guesses?

Well, on my way home from work the other day I spotted these in the hedgerow...

Had to take a closer look and enjoy the scent...

and of course pick some!

Are you all keeping up with me?  What is it did someone ask?


 Elderflower cakes are a must of course! 

Very yummy, light and summery, and don't last long in our house!  Then again, most cakes don't!  But I then got to thinking about my new recipe book, and my new delight of making macarons.  Would it possible to incorporate elderflowers into them?  Well after looking at lots of options I decided perhaps  the Orange Blossom Macarons recipe would work, swapping orange flower water for elderflower cordial.  I didn't add any colouring although the macarons did colour slightly in the oven.

Declared a success by all, although hubby (not a cake lover but definitely a macaron lover!) thought they would have been better a little less sweet.  Elderflower cordial is obviously very sweet, so has anyone any other ideas?

All suggestions very welcome, and I think perhaps I shall have to challenge Jill - after all she is the Queen of Macarons - the definite authority - and the author of my lovely new book!
In the meantime, time to enjoy them, the tea table is ready - I think they would also be rather good with Elderflower Champagne, pity we don't have any!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Something new!

There's a new magazine just launched, looks as though it could be interesting especially crochet apple jackets!  I think these have got to be an essential for every lunchbox!  I can just imagine my children's faces - not sure they would be totally impressed, especially the boys!  At 21 and 19 though they are used to Mum's mad ideas, and have nobly suffered 'interesting' lunches over the years - pink bread (flavoured with beetroot powder) didn't go down too well! I can't think why not!
However, I can see the practical side to apple jackets with no more excuses of not eating apples as they have bruised.  There is just one teeny drawback to it all though, just the very slight problem of me not being able to crochet! One of my grandmothers did try and teach me and I did do a little, but never managed to really produce anything or follow a pattern.  Looks as though I have a new challenge!  Now all I need is a few more hours in the day!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Patience and it's reward!

I had a new cookery book for my birthday, 'Mad About Macarons! Make Macarons like the French' by Jill Colonna.  Well I did go a little mad this week making them, but practice makes perfect so they say!  The patience bit doesn't come in the actual making of them...

nor in the trying to resist eating them, although where are the rest of the raspberry ones?

patience isn't even tested too badly in the filling of them - I can put them on a tray and watch television whilst doing this!  Did anyone watch 'The Apprentice' this week?

The worst bit of patience is before you start - separating the egg and then storing the egg white for 4 days before you get to make your macarons! Mind you it is a close thing as having made your macarons and cooked them, then filled them you cannot eat them!  Extra patience needed to wait another 24 hours or 36 in the case of the chocolate! Why must we wait? To allow the filling to blend with the shells.  Is it worthwhile?  Definitely, but in our house VERY tricky.  They need to be counted and a note put on the fridge door!


Why was it so important not to let them all get eaten this week?  Well a macaron birthday cake seemed ideal for my son, especially as he was the one who bought me the book!  A mix of raspberry, pistachio and chocolate. Poor boy, he's feeling old at the grand age of 19!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A romantic weekend

Lucky me, a wonderful surprise for my birthday, whisked away to Paris for the weekend by my dear husband. 

Tickets booked for the Eiffel Tower so we could bypass the queues.  We were able to go right to the summit  and had fantastic views even though it was hazy.

It was rather high!

Lovely patterns in the ironwork.

Beautiful bridges across the Seine.

A trip to Galeries Lafayette.

And as for the food!

Beautifully arranged patisserie...

fruit as pretty as a picture...

multi-coloured tomatoes...

yummy artichokes...

and incredible cheeses!  

Probably best not to stand on the scales for a while!  I was very spoilt and very lucky.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Welcome to the Giantswood

  A warm welcome to you all from the Giantswood, a world full of things that make me happy! Crazy patchwork and embroidery are a must!  
So much around me inspires, both the man-made and the natural.

What a lovely surprise in the garden this morning.
Afternoons - definitely time for tea and cakes!